Perhaps even more than for it’s great recovery wildlife recovery efforts, Kasanka is known for it’s bats. The first of Kasanka’s famous straw-colored fruit bats begin arriving towards the middle of October each year. By mid-November the roost has reached its highest density and numbers are estimated to be around eight million. It is believed to be the highest density of mammalian biomass on the planet, as well as the greatest mammal migration known to man. The bats swarm to Kasanka en masse every year as the rains first begin to fall, ripening the local fruit and berries on which they feed.
The bat roost is centered on one of the largest remaining patches of Mushitu (indigenous forest) in Kasanka along the Musola River. The edge of the forest is the access point for dusk and dawn safari walks into the heart of the roost. The high concentration of food items attracts an incredible variety of predators and scavengers to the bat forest. Martial eagles, fish eagles, lesser-spotted and African hawk-eagles, kites, vultures and hobby falcons are amongst the raptors that concentrate on the roost for easy pickings, whereas leopard, water monitors and crocodiles make off with those bats unfortunate enough to drop to the forest floor. The entire scene is fascinating and to watch the bats together, rather in flight or resting is an experience not soon forgotten.